The twentieth anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre has tended to obscure an even more momentous event – the election victory of Poland’s Solidarity movement. The poll triggered a chain reaction that led to the collapse of communist regimes across central and eastern Europe and eventually in the Soviet Union itself.
As one observer recently noted:
It was the year of wonders: the year the post-war world was utterly changed. At the start of 1989, the cold war seemed in its prime. Communist regimes ruled a third of mankind. By its end, the Berlin Wall had collapsed and taken the regimes in eastern Europe with it. China had to massacre its young to stay in power.
The London Times has an excellent special supplement to mark the historic occasion.